Meat ban in schools, closure of dairy farms: Kerala HC stays Lakshadweep administration’s controversial orders
In a big setback to the Lakshadweep administration, the Kerala High Court stayed two controversial orders issued by Praful Khoda Patel.
The orders that have been stayed include the removal of meat products from the midday meal scheme for school children and the decision to close all the dairy farms on the island.
The stay order was issued by a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly on a PIL filed by a lawyer from the Islands.
Functioning of the dairy farms should continue, no ban on meat items
The Kerala High Court issued the following interim directions:
1. Functioning of the dairy farms should be continued until further orders.
2. Food, including meat, chicken, fish and egg, and other items, prepared and served to the school going children of Lakshadweep, as done in the past, should be continued until further orders. To make it clear, the earlier system should continue.
Petitioner Ajmal Ahmed R alleged that when Praful Khoda Patel took charge as island administrator in December last year, his top priority was to close down the Animal Husbandry department's farms and ‘attack’ the food habits of the Islanders, which they were following from time immemorial.
‘Intention to implement ‘Animal Preservation (Regulation), 2021’
The petitioner also challenged the May 21, 2021, order of the Director of Animal Husbandry, directing immediate closure of all the dairy farms, saying it was done with an intention to implement the proposed ‘Animal Preservation (Regulation),2021,’ which bans slaughter of cows, calves and bulls.
As per the proposed rule, sale and purchase of beef and beef products would be banned by closing down the farms, thereby curtailing the islanders' source of getting milk products and forcing them to purchase milk products imported from Gujarat.
Representing the administration, the standing counsel said there are two dairy farms in Lakshadweep with 69 animals, out of which 47 are only milking. Stating that the maintenance of two farms, with the production of very little quantity, is not financially viable.